Monday, August 22, 2011

A Summer Report Card

You know we all do this at the end of every summer, we evaluate what we have grown this year, move things around, put in some new plantings and look forward to having the perfect garden next year.

I am pleased with the Northwind Panicum along the south side in the front.  They are in a very narrow strip but so far so good.

Panicum can be left up during the winter to turn a soft tan color, not prone to flopping.  However, I do band it along the bottom to keep it from encroaching on the pathway.  It can also be ringed in the spring for a virtually invisible support,

This is what keeps a gardener going that constant reaching for the carrot knowing that it will never be attainable but it is sure fun and stimulating to try.  I hope all beginning gardeners will realize that the veterans are still trying to do better each year.

I don't know how it could get much better than Limelight Hydrangea, tons of blooms each year, virtually carefree.  I do prune it each spring in a semi-circle and fertilize with an organic fertilizer for acid loving plants by Espoma.

The blooms on Limelight will change from green to white to pink to rose and can be easily dried.  They can also be successfully spray painted for using outside in holiday arrangements.

There have been years when I wanted to get rid of the Lirope but this year it looks especially lush.  I am slowly adding additional plantings to this area like the new Autumn Ferns this year.

The front garden is beginning to take shape looking south with more perennials, dwarf shrubbery and very few annuals except in the porch containers.

More perennials and shrubbery looking north with the new Ninebarks along the perimeter.

I get dismayed with the weather each year and in the past few years the deluge of insects and diseases I had never heard of before

This is Arnie's Choice rejuvenated after being trimmed down with Plumbago filling in as a ground cover.  I put in some small cabbages because of the bulbs underneath so we will see how big they get.

Endless Summer Hydrangea bloomed once this year and sparsely at that.  I don't know why I keep thinking it will get better!

I almost pulled out Cordyalis a couple of years ago because it multiplies and spreads to areas where it was not planted.  However, it is very easy to pull out, so I decided to keep it.  It has turned out to be very desirable along the north side flowering all summer oblivious to the heat and moisture,

Unique Hydrangea is always a reliable performer, changes to pink to rose and dries beautifully.

Variegated Solomon's Seal gets high marks for withstanding all types of weather conditions even the hot air from the air conditioners that it surrounds.  That's just morning haze in the background!

Mary Rose is a David Austin Rose and survived better than many of the others with the rose midges and the Japanese beetles.

All The Rage has been my best rose this year almost impervious to the midge and the Japanese beetles.  It opens up to a much lighter peach color.  It is high on the list of desirable roses.

Carefree Beauty is blooming again but it was not protected against the midge or the Japanese beetle.

Knockout Rose Blush was affected all summer with the midge and the Japanese beetles, not a great report card for the Knockouts.

Pink Knockout was also affected by the Japanese Beetles and the Rose Midge but is coming back maybe for a fall revival.

Pink Promise is an award winning Hybrid Tea Rose but it has been most affected by the diseases for the past few years.  It has done much better this year even though it has been affected by the midge disease and the Japanese Beetles.

Pink Meidiland has been blooming continuously all summer, lightly affected by the midges and Japanese Beetles.

Brunnera Jack Frost
Looks great in the border all summer

The new introductions entice us each year as we are always eager to improve on what we have or desire to have, this also is not always an attainable goal.

Bubblegum Phlox was new this year and is highly recommended as a great rebloomer.

Laura is a very long blooming phlox (foreground) still blooming from the beginning of July, Franz Schubert has already been deadheaded and is reblooming.

In the alley garden the plantings along the fence tend to lean forward because they are being pulled by the sun (phototropism).  This is common when plants are put against walls and fences and not getting light from all directions.  So, I have solved this problem by ringing the grasses and Centhranthus with inexpensive green metal rings from Home Depot.  I did not do the Blue Fotune Agastache and regret that I didn't, leaning heavily after every storm.  You do not see the rings once the plants begin to grow.


Karen said...

Hello Eileen, I've just spent a half hour looking at your posts that I'd missed. Wow, talk about plants to take notes on for future reference! Love the tour of the Ball Seed grounds; there are so many wonderful varieties coming out and the way they display them is incredible. I've never seen displays like those, so inventive and just jaw-dropping gorgeous.

Now on to your fantastic gardens...where do I start? I love the pathway lined with the Northwind Panicum. I love that grass for its strength and stately manner and for all-season long performance. What a great idea to put the rings around them and other plants when growing up against a fence to stop the perpetual leaning. Your Limelight is certainly living up to it's name, wow, yours is amazing along with the other varieties showcased here.

I have never grown liriope, but I love the way you have yours planted, it makes a wonderful statement.

Roses, oh, how I blush about them...this year mine were eaten by every known bug and that is partly, ok, Mostly my fault because I failed to spray them or do much of anything with them. All I have is Knockouts and they were nearly knocked out cold. They are coming back a little, but it's a sad year for them after the initial first wave of color in early summer.

Sorry this is so long (and I could go on and on, these posts are just so wonderful!) but there is always so much to admire and learn from your excellent posts.

Mary Anne said...

Good Morning Eileen:
Your garden still looks amazing and I have written down a bit of infortmation this morning for next years garden. . . Re: David Austins's Mary Rose and All the Rage. Whose rose is that?

Thanks to you, I never knew that phlox will rebloom. I deadheaded a few weeks back and lo and behold, here they come again. You are awesome!

I am working on a get-together at my house for local bloggers. Interested?

Mary Anne

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Karen,

My roses are just starting to come back after a long summer of insect damage. I hated to have to use the supports for the plantings as I like to see them in a natural condition. But, I am putting them in an unatural situation (against a fence) so I have to make them look their best.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Mary Anne,

I believe All The Rage is distributed by Bailey Roses, Wannamakers carried it. I would love to attend a blogger get-together as I very rarely meet any in the Chicago area.


JD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cottage Garden said...

Loved the tour of your late summer garden Eileen. I have made a note of the Limelight Hydrangea. Would it be suitable for a shady area or does it need full sun?

Such a shame your roses have been blighted by insect damage, but they still look wonderful!


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi JD,

I have pruned Endless Summer, fed it a low nitrogen (as I heard that it is more suseptible to growing lots of leaves than other hydrangeas) acid based fertilizer. Nothing seems to help.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Jeanne,

Limelight will grow in part shade, however, it is one of the few hydrangeas that prefers full sun. Unique Hydrangea prefers part shade.


Lona said...

Hi Eileen. I liked your grade card report. Since we are similar growing areas it helps a lot to know these facts. I will have to remember the Bubble Gum phlox. Your Hydrangeas especially the Lime Light is so pretty. My Forever hydrangea has not even bloomed this year. Keep us updated on your Autumn ferns as to their changing color. I have had my eye on them so I will wait to see how yours do. LOL!

Zoey said...

Great post, Eileen.

Endless Summer Hydrangea in my garden is just beginning to put out a bloom -- on only one of three plants that are three years old. This plant is giving me headaches! I keep seeing pics that are stunning, but in my garden, it has not done anything.

Your yard looks amazing and must be the envy of the neighborhood!

Gatsbys Gardens said...


I am frustrated wasting precious garden space on something that does not bloom. You will love the Bubblegum Phlox if you can find it.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Zoey,

I am about ready to yank out the Endless Summer. I have tried everything included less fertiizer, supposedly they are nitrogen suseptible and produce lots of leaves.

However, that Little Lime looks interesting but it does not bloom all summer, better than what's there now.


Beth said...

Hi Eileen, Your gardens are amazingly beautiful! Love your front beds. Your hydrangea are stunning. Sorry about the Endless Summer. I have several of them. Interestingly enough, the largest and oldest one didn't bloom at all this year. It was gorgeous last year. The others did bloom. And I didn't prune improperly. Who knows why?

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

I enjoyed seeing your garden. I really love getting ideas on plants and combinations. I know what you mean about this time of year and thinking about changes. I guess that's what helps a lot of us get through the winter is planning out those changes. I planted Limelight last summer and can't wait til it looks as big as yours.
I also need to get the green rings you talked about, they would be useful in quite a few of my plants that like to lean.

Balisha said...

Hi Eileen...I love that Limelight. So beautiful and full of blooms. I'm keeping track of the roses you have shown to not be affected by the J. Beetle.They are such a problem here with my Knockouts.

Jenny Schouten Short said...

Limelight and Unique are two of ur new hydrangeas this summer. I know nothing about them but they do enjoy the cool Dutch rain every day. Now they're turning pink. I'm glad you mentioned that. I didn't know what was wrong with them, ha!
Your roses are simply perfect. xo Jenny

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

Gorgeous gardens Eileen. I am inspired!

I would love to have a Limelight Hydrangea.

We are trying to decide what to do with the patio wall. J removed the overgrown knockout roses. They were working their way into the back porch stairs. We are thinking of some sort of ornamental grass as this will give year round color and texture.

Patsi said...

Love the grasses and roses.
What that Limelight Hydrangea !
Never thought of edging my walkway to the front door but after looking at your beds thinking maybe I should.

joey said...

A+ for the garden and the gardener!

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Beth,

The front beds have been a challenge because I didn't want them to look too wild, more formal but interesting. This is still a work in progress.


Gatsbys Gardens said...


I know what you mean, we have all of these ideas and not all of them get completed before the snow falls. It is a great activity for the winter to plan for the following year. I do draw out things, like areas, containers, etc., but as we both know not everything works out!


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Balisha,

The Limelight is a grea hydranges always reliable. It has a profusion of blooms but does prefer full sun!


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Pat,

The Limelight is lovely, but there is a smaller version called Little Lime which I am going to try next year in place of Endless Summer.


Jennifer@threedogsinagarden said...

Eileen, This is a great exercise and very worthwhile for not only your own garden, but also other gardeners as well who can benefit of the information in your report card. I thought the rating on your roses particularly interesting because I have noted something similar myself. Although Japanese Beetles are a new pest in my garden, I have already noted that they have certain rose preferences. They seem to leave more open roses blossoms alone, while going crazy over many petaled blooms.
I really like your idea to hoop foliage that tends to flop. I think I will try that out on my siberian irises, which are a floppy mess at the moment.

Grace said...

Love all your goodies. The roses are fabulous and the Hydrangeas, outstanding.

Betty819 said...

Eileen..your gardens are none the worst for wear from the hot summer we have had. That Bubblegum pink phlox is calling my name, as is Sandra Elizabeth Daylily. I would like to try growing some Daylilies and have been writing down the ones you like so well. That Sandra Elizabeth is a beautiful shade of yellow, and I like it's flower shape. My next door neighbor bought me a beautiful bouquet of cut flowers for my birthday and there were the most beautiful orange DL in the middle, I just threw them out today. Sure would love to have known what that variety was. Orange and brown are not my favorite colors but that was the most beautiful shade of orange and the flower was perfect. I have some books out now on daylilies and I'm going to try to see if I can recognize it in pics in the books. Maybe I'll go over to Harris Teeter and if I see another bouquet like it, I'll ask the floral dept. mgr. if she knows what variety it is.

Betty819 said...

I forgot to tell you how much I love the new header! You've got all kinds of garden phlox..can you please show or explain how one goes about harvesting garden phlox seed? I asked two experienced gardeners last week and they say they didn't know, they just let theirs reseed itself.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Betty,

The phlox are hybrids and it would not be worth your while to collect their seed as they would not bloom true to the hybrid. You would probably get something that resembled one of the parents.

Hybrids do not reseed they just get fuller and spread by their root systems.


Betty819 said...

Do I cut the garden phlox back in the Fall before the first frost? I want them to bush out for me in the Spring. We just got a lot of rain from Hurricane Irene, so maybe that will help them grow.